Sunday 18 December 2022

Ground #374 - Westside Arena

Date: 10th December 2022
Ground: Westside Arena
Location: Stanway, Essex

My fourteenth new ground of 2022 was on Saturday 10th December at the Westside Arena in Stanway, Essex. The game was Stanway Pegasus vs. Wormley Rovers in the Eastern Counties League Division One South.

The Westside Arena is located in the grounds of The Stanway School in a residential area on the western outskirts of Colchester. The cage arena is nestled in amongst the school's other sports facilities with a grass pitch and running field to the west, basketball and tennis courts to the north-west and cricket nets to the south. The school itself lies directly north with a road and housing to the east. The venue is 3 miles west of Colchester and Colchester Town railway stations and 3 miles east of Marks Tey railway station.

The ground is a cage pitch with two sides accessible to spectators. The entrance in the north-west corner and located just outside of the entrance is a snack shed, a toilet demountable and the school car park. The dressing rooms are located in the school itself on the other side of the car park - this means all the facilities are located outside the confines of the arena. 

Inside the arena the sole stand is the Ron West Stand - a 50-seater positioned in between the entrance and the goal at the northern end of the ground. There a good amount of hard standing space for the whole length of the pitch down the western side and the two dugouts are also positioned here. The remaining two sides are not off-limits with just a small gap between the 3G pitch and the cage fencing.

The game was between 2nd and 3rd place in the league. Stanway were doing very well in their debut season since promotion from the county leagues but were looking to bounce back from a 1-0 defeat last time out at Cannons Wood. The visitors were on a rich vein of form on a seven-game winning streak across all competitions  A quiet start to the game was blown apart in the 18th minute when a 25-yard effort out of nothing from Bradley Empson gave Wormley the lead. The hosts battled back and went close in the 28th minute as Dan Ager jinked past two defenders before getting into the box and driving an effort just wide. In the 43rd minute Stanway's attack paid off with a beautiful goal - a great cross-field ball from the left went to the back post and Callum Griffith struck a sweet first-time volley past the keeper to level things up. Wormley could have grabbed another goal in first half injury time but George Beattie shot straight at Will Healy when one-on-one with the Stanway goalie. The second half was an even affair with another chance for Wormley going begging in the 63rd minute. This time it was a ball from the left which a Stanway defender was able to deflect away just before Luke Marshal could smash home on the right side of the goal. The home side had to play the final 20 minutes with ten men - George Barron flew in with a very late tackle as Wormley launched a counter on the right and with his name already in the book the referee had to send him packing. The final chance for the visitors to take all three points back with them came as the clock ticked beyond 90 minutes - the ball fell to Bradley Empson on the edge of the box but unlike his first half effort he lashed over to keep both sides occupying 2nd and 3rd as they had before the game.

Result: Stanway Pegasus 1-1 Wormley Rovers
Division: Eastern Counties League Division One South
Attendance: 107

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